THE weather so far this year has been a washout and small businesses can relate as once again they have been provided with overcast and gloomy news this week.
According to a new survey completed by the Federation of Small Business (FSB); four in 10 small firms have been refused credit from the banks.
The survey also revealed that the smaller firms are also feeling the pressure from overhead costs; expenses like rent, office supplies, utilities and advertising.
As chairman of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), an organisation which houses over 130 SMEs and works with many more throughout the region, I am witness to the resilient determination and healthy measure of optimism that small businesses hold and therefore it comes as no surprise that the survey also revealed that 40% of small businesses have plans for growth within the next year.
The BIC has been helping businesses since it formed in 1994, through many difficult times, thus illustrating that with the right support network and resolve businesses can survive, sustain and be successful, whatever the stormy times.
It is a belief of mine that small businesses are the way forward to lift the dark cloud of recession from over our heads and with that in mind a new lending scheme Funding for Lending was announced by the Bank of England in conjunction with the Chancellor George Osborne.
The Bank of England is to offer money to high-street banks to kick start small business lending and growth.
Will this new scheme work? Unfortunately we will have to wait and see but in the meantime I hope that the drive of so many of our region’s SMEs who are unwavering in their ambitions to get things done continues to rub off on all of us; for when it rains the small businesses simply reach for their umbrellas.
:: John Anderson CBE is chairman of North East BIC